“Haven’t you heard of the duel going on ever since 1801?”

Browsing the Elliott Bay bookstore this last weekend led me to a collection of short novels written by five different authors but all under the same title – The Duel. Recently released by Melville House Publishing as part of its larger Art of the Novella series, each book provides a look into the upper class societies where young military officers and gentlemen would resort to pointless illegal duels to settle differences (the practice was often banned by Emperors, Kings, Generals, and the like).

At $10-12 a pop though, I decided to start with just two of them and picked the stories that were in my favorite historical settings: Czarist Russia and Napoleonic France.

The Duel - The Art of the Novella
By Alexander Kuprin and Joseph Conrad, respectively – the other three are by Chekhov, Heinrich Von Kleist, and Giacomo Casanova. Each book also comes with a special URL included in the back that provides access to additional reading material which looks to be ideal for the type of person who can get distracted for hours on just wikipedia alone.